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Insulating glaciers and re-icing the arctic

duct tapeYes, it’s all part of Popular Science’s “5 duct tape methods to save the Earth” and it makes for compelling reading, rather than a late April Fools’ joke.

On the list are schemes to mass-produce genetically modified forests to undercut the market for rainforest timber, or tame super-storms with cold water. Even better, rather than being the product of a late-night boozing brainstorm, all of these schemes are either being trialled or actively researched.

Greenbang’s favourite idea is one that will not only save the glaciers by wrapping them in football-field-sized blankets, and also keep our beers cold…

After a small pilot project in 2005 on the shrinking Gurschen glacier proved hugely successful—the blanketed area had 80 percent less melt than surrounding ice and snow two years in a row—Landolt has been tackling bigger and bigger ice packs, including an area the size of six football fields (more than 300,000 square feet) on the Vorab glacier, home to one of Switzerland’s largest ski resorts.

Next Steps
Don’t count on the blankets saving the snows of Kilimanjaro. With the ski resorts footing the bill, their use is limited to critical areas where melt directly interferes with skiing and snowboarding. But there’s always the burgeoning beer market. “We had a guy throwing an outdoor party last summer,” says Landolt product manager Marcel Stahle. “We sold him 100 square feet. His beer stayed cold all day.”

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